Leo Chan

August 10, 1992 – January 18, 2012

Words from Leo’s proud parents, Mabel and C.K. Chan

Leo Chan was an incredibly unique individual. A gift from the outset, Leo grew up in a wonderful way and left us suddenly and  tragically. For those who knew him, he was brilliant, kind, talented, and inspirational. He was not afraid to be different, and he always stood up for his beliefs.Leo was born in Toronto, Ontario and raised in Coquitlam, BC. He loved British Columbia and our beautiful Canadian nation. Throughout his 19 years in this world, Leo learned with many and taught many. In fact, many are still learning from what he has taught us today.Leo has left an impact on our globe, not only with his many accomplishments, but also with his beliefs. The legacy he has left will not only remain with us for a lifetime, but will continue on for generations to come. Leo was an extremely intelligent young man. People would often seek his perspective on current events, politics, and many other matters. He was well-informed and could even provide additional insight that one would not expect. Leo was also an excellent debater: given nearly any topic, he could present his points like no other.He was a very ambitious and driven individual. When asked what he wanted to do in life, he would always answer with clear and direct answers. Indeed, Leo planned on going to law school at UBC, with the hopes of becoming a Human Rights Attorney. He believed that working to promote human rights around the globe would be the most rewarding job, even though it paid less than other legal positions.

Many who knew him thought that he would have made an excellent political leader, one who could make a positive difference in society.Leo was not afraid of questioning or challenging authority, something he did with positive results. For instance, he once wrote  a controversial article in his high school newspaper. A strong writer, Leo included some satirical ideas and contentious language. In response to the article, the teacher in charge of the paper sent him to the Principal’s office, thinking that he would be disciplined. Instead, the Principal told Leo that he liked the article, and offered him cookies and pop. It would seem that the Principal realized what a bold and controversial move Leo had made when publishing the article, a move that would impress even the highest school authority.Leo always strove for the best. He would often reflect on his mistakes – whether it be doing poorly on an assignment or treating a person inappropriately – and see them as opportunities for self-improvement. He would change his current behaviour based on his experiences to avoid making the same mistakes again. Leo’s actions proved that people could rely on his words. For example, he went from writing a major fifteen-page essay the day before it was due in Grade 11, to thoroughly researching and writing all of his university essays at least two weeks in advance.

He had the most optimistic attitude imaginable. Regardless of how stressful a situation was, he would always pull through with a smile.  Moreover, Leo always had hope and faith in the human race, regardless of the mistakes made by its members.

He had aspirations to make positive changes in Canada. He wrote and created his own video on The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when he entered the ‘Historica Fraser Valley’ competition in 2004. He was eleven at the time, and ended up placing first. He had to defend his presentation to three judges and Leo’s mom remembers reading one of the judges’ comments: “You are going to be “The Leo!’” How ironic that he had to leave this world so suddenly from a disease that could have been prevented, in a country that takes pride in protecting the rights and freedoms of its citizens.

Leo Chan has made an impression on the hearts and minds of many; he has inspired us all to be better people, and to have compassion each day that we live. He was here on a mission and now he has moved on to a new one. Let us never forget what he wants us to do:  ‘Spread Love and Kindness throughout the world’ and ‘Respect and nurture young people.’ Leo will always be with us. He has brought us much joy, happiness and many surprises. He will never be forgotten.Friends and family have established the Leo Chan Memorial Scholarship at UVic.

It is hoped that this scholarship will inspire young people, help to carry on Leo’s legacy, raise awareness about Meningococcal disease, spread information on the availability of the vaccine, and inform students of the high risk at which they are placed. This scholarship will ensure that future students will continue to be inspired by Leo and his relentless optimism for making the world a better place.

This is the Leo as seen through the eyes of his parents and closest friends. For all of you that are reading this, please help support Leo’s causes in whatever way you can. Please sign the petition and pass it on. By doing so, you can prevent another young life from dying.

Leo, son, you will always be with us. You have brought us so much joy, happiness and lots of surprises.

We love you Leo!Mom and Dad






University of Victoria – Letter from Leo Chan’s Parents

University of Victoria – Letter from Brandon Quan – Leo’s friend

The writings of Leo Chan for HUMA @ UVic/The Leo Chan Connection

Monday Magazine – Uvic mourns loss of student to meningococcal disease (Jan. 25, 2012)

Saanich News – Uvic student dies of meningococcal disease (Jan. 25, 2012)

Examiner.com – Meningitis strikes universities in Florida, British Columbia (Jan. 26, 2012)

Coquitlam Now – A life cut short. Remembering Leo (Feb. 13, 2012)

The Amaranth Writer – Leo Chan (Feb. 18, 2012)